Is it possible to request runway lighting be turned on? and how does runway lighting generally work?


I did a night flight over the Canadian Rockies from CYYC (Calgary) to CYGE (Golden).

Not thinking about it, I failed to check if the destination airport had runway lighting (SkyVector says no: skyvector -> /airport/CYGE/Golden-Airport)

This brings up a few important questions.

  1. Some airports in real life have transceiver that allows activation of runway lights (PCL/PAL/ARCAL) - does MSFS have this capability yet? (see wikipedia Pilot-controlled_lighting)

  2. Other airports require communication with control to activate lights - is this possible in MSFS?

  3. If an airport is not equipped with runway lighting, or the lighting is inoperable, will control advise me? Is my only way to determine this to check something like SkyVector? Can I not just ask control?

If its consistent with real life, it would be nice to have a message warning me “Cessna QRF7A, Golden Tower, be advised runway edge lights on 33L are inoperable/not available, advise XXX”

If I’ve made any invalid assumptions, please don’t hesitate to point out my ignorance.

UPDATE: For the software engineers in the crowd, I recognize the possible complexity in implementation here; so this is more so just so I can plan my flights. Shared state of the game world make even simple features hard, i.e. persisting runway lighting state across many nodes, TTL, yadda yadda.


In P3D, there was a CFG editing that added and changed how soon the night lighting turned on. It could turn this on 30 minutes, say, before sunset, and turn it off 30 minutes after sunrise.

The answer is “no” at the 3 questions. If an airport is equipped with lighting, they will be turned on at night. You have no way to turn them on, and control won’t tell you anything about that.

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I was thinking it would be cool to be able to click your mic button and turn on the flashing lights like in real life.

I’d really like PAL (Pilot Activated Lighting) to be implemented in MSFS too. Simply by an ATC option or more realistically by tuning to the PAL frequency for say 10 seconds. I’m sure there’s someone at Osobo that would love the challenge.

There’s a wishlist topic out for pilot-controlled lighting, if you’d care to vote for it:

CC: @JGMDubs24, @ViscousTundra09

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Thanks for following up with this. Voted.

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There is a a nice arcal add-on in XP11 I use all the time at my home airport (CZBA). So yes this would be great to have in FS2020

Bring out your dead…

IRL, you read the NOTAM’s before a flight, in which it tells you the destination, airports along the route, have issues with the airport lighting.

The chart Supplement (AFD) gives lighting information about an airport, too. does it have it, what type, times and/or pilot control. (clicks on the mic)

Third party sites, AOPA, Foreflight , etc; also have such information.

It would be a nice touch to see the airfield light up on that 5th click when night flying.

Thanks for explaining how this should work. I had a feeling this would be covered in pre-flight, like you say. It seems like only only makes sense to be have a clear understanding of this well before you are wheels up! LOL.

Please check out the PCL wishlist item linked above if you haven’t already.